WINNERS & LOSERS: Cheers for Joe Cole, jeers for Ronaldo


Los Angeles Galaxy teammates Carlos Ruiz and Guillermo Ramirez combined for three first-half goals to lead GUATEMALA to a 5-1 win over Trinidad & Tobago Saturday in Hexagonal action. The win gives the Guatemalans four points in two games and moves them into second place ahead of their game against the United States Wednesday in Birmingham, Ala.

Teenager Antonio Valencia and Edison Mendez smashed in two goals apiece, all with long-range shots, as ECUADOR came from 2-0 down after 15 minutes to beat Paraguay, 5-2. With 19 points in 12 games, third-place Ecuador looks like returning to the World Cup finals, where they played for the first time in 2002.

SWEDEN beat Bulgaria, 3-0, with two goals coming from Freddy Ljungberg to remain in first in Europe's Group 8 and stretch its winning streak in away qualifiers to six games -- one short of Germany's record. The NETHERLANDS, which missed out on the 2002 World Cup finals, remain in first place in Group 1 after a convincing 2-0 win over Romania in Bucharest.

A strong game by JOE COLE, in his first international start, on the left side of midfield helped England dispatch of Northern Ireland, 4-0 and remain in first place in Group 6.


For the third straight home qualifier, FRANCE was held to a 0-0 tie. The draw with Switzerland left the Bleus tied with Ireland and Israel with nine points in Europe's Group 4. Switzerland is three points behind with a game in hand.

RONALDO, hero of Brazil's 2002 World Cup championship team, was jeered by home fans at Goiania's Serra Dourada Stadium, where Brazil struggled in the heat to beat Peru, 1-0. Ronaldo missed an open goal but supplied the pass for Kaka's winner in the 74th minute that ended a 389-minute scoreless streak for the Brazilians.

World Cup 2002 co-hosts JAPAN and SOUTH KOREA both suffered deflating defeats Friday in Asian World Cup qualifying matches in the Persian Gulf. Striker Vahid Hashemian struck twice to give Iran a 2-1 victory over Japan in front of a raucous crowd of 100,000 in Tehran. Saudi Arabia beat South Korea 2-0 in Dammam.

A last-minute goal gave Togo a 2-1 win over Mali in African qualifying and touched off massive rioting by MALIAN FANS in the capital of Bamako, where the game was played. Fans swarmed the field after Mama Cherif's winning goal and the rioting spread to the neighboring streets. They attacked shops, restaurants and hotels. Other targets included brothels, leading officials to think that religious extremists were also at work.

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